Samsung rather quietly launched the first-ever six-inch Galaxy A9 model today (via 9to5Google), at a party in China celebrating the entire 2016 A-series lineup. The biggest, most powerful member of the A family joins the A7 (2016), A5 (2016), and A3 (2016) — at 5.5, 5.2, and 4.7 inches, respectively — announced together at the beginning of the month.
Like the rest of the A handsets, Galaxy A9 is a metal and glass design, running Android 5.1 Lollipop (with a Marshmallow upgrade likely to arrive in a timely manner). At 7.4mm thin, the A9 features a full HD (1080p) Super AMOLED display, 3GB RAM / 32GB storage, and a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 652 SoC, all powered by a massive, albeit non-removable, 4,000mAh battery.
Initially shipping in gold, white, and pink (but, curiously, no darker shades), the LTE-capable A9 offers a number of high-end features, highlighted by its optically stabilized, flash-assisted 13 megapixel camera with ƒ/1.9 aperture lens (8MP for the front-facing selfie cam). The device can be unlocked, and used for contactless payment, via the home button-embedded fingerprint reader.
Despite the non-swappable battery, it’s also got a microSD slot for expanded storage — conspicuously absent from Samsung’s worldwide flagships this year.
For now, China is the only market that has been tipped for release, but even those details are still rather vague; it should ship before the end of the month, but pricing remains unknown. It’s unlikely that U.S. consumers will see any of these A series devices sold stateside (last year’s were not released domestically, either), but nonetheless, they represent an important design direction for a Samsung suddenly freed from its plastic roots.